Like many video game players of my generation, I have been playing regularly since the mid 1990’s. Since then, plenty of games have received long awaited sequels while others have released 3 or 4 sequels too many. It’s a fine line which developers walk when they release one more game in any series since it runs the risk of falling into one of two extremes: either a completely different game or a carbon copy which costs another full price purchase. None of these results ever bodes well for any developer.
Tecmo KOEI’s Dynasty Warriors franchise is one of these games which consistently feature sequels yet alternates as to where it finds itself on this scale both in story and in gameplay. Yet, it always has a strong fanbase that awaits each release. Does their latest one, Dynasty Warriors 8, follow this path or does it break free from its family lineage?
Developed by Omega Force / Published by Tecmo KOEI Available on PS3 and Xbox 360. Reviewed on PS3 *Review code provided by
Developed by Omega Force / Published by Tecmo KOEI
Available on PS3 and Xbox 360. Reviewed on PS3
*Review code provided by
Dynasty Warriors 8 is the latest sequel in Tecmo KOEI’s hack-and-slash action series. Much like its predecessors, it is based off the Chinese historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Assuming the role of any number of characters from the novel, you engage huge amounts of enemies across a variety of key historical battles in an attempt to dominate the field and gain the advantage for your kingdom. Since it is based on an age old novel, story-wise there is not much deviation from previous installments, but it still manages to provide just enough change to entice player’s curiosity and explore the branchable stories in order to see all the “what-if’s.” It also provides improvement where previous versions needed it and maintains the aspects which worked for previous installments.
Among the most noticeable additions to the combat are weapon elements and storm rushes; each of these relying on the other. This 8th successor to the dynasty adds a rock-paper-scissors mechanism to weapons: Heaven, Earth, and Man. Each possesses an advantage and a weakness against the other two, and these are used to spice up the weapon switching previously made available in Dynasty Warriors 7. When facing off against an opponent using a weapon with an advantage over your enemy’s, you break his or her defense and leave him wide open for the second noticeable addition called storm rushes. These are automatic bonus attacks which deal heavy damage over a wide range, having the opportunity to make all your nearby enemies pay for the poor weapon choice of their officer. These two features work well together and provide great satisfaction when achieved by allowing you to dish out solid damage.
An addition to the story mode in Dynasty Warriors 8 is that it allows the player to select from a few warriors before launching a campaign battle, allowing for greater variety and an added feeling of choice: a growing feature of many successful games. If players feel they have a choice, it allows for replayability value in backtracking to explore how the story would have branched out with other choices.
Another big addition that will keep players entertained and feeling like they are the head of a Dynasty is called Ambition Mode. This is a resource gathering and managing game mode in which you earn resources to be used towards the building of a town fit for an emperor. In it, you must engage in battles in a survival style gameplay. The more you win in a row, the more allies, resources, and fame you will receive; all of which are needed to complete this massive project aimed at impressing even an emperor. This is a game mode in which you see your efforts instantly pay off in the improvement of the town and therefore feels just as satisfying as slaying over 1,000 nameless enemies.
Making a triumphant and welcomed return is the two-player co-op mode available locally or online. Being able to grab a friend and slay all those who stand before you is plain fun and can even be therapeutical. After a rough work day where you can’t let out the daily stress with a mossou attack, being able to come home and lay some serious hurt on thousands of helpless enemies with the press of a few buttons alongside a friend to share the savagery with will go a long way towards keeping your stress levels down. Online also makes an appearance in the new Ambition mode, allowing you to visit other players towns and launch co-op battles together, which is also very fun.
For a franchise which I believe is showing signs of age, Dynasty Warriors 8 avoids both of the sequel extremes and falls right in the middle as a solid title that manages to take previous improvements and better them enough to make them more enjoyable. It did what I believe everyone expects of sequels: it kept what worked and altered what had room for improvement. If you are new to the franchise, I’d say Dynasty Warriors 8 is a very fun title to begin from and explore the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.